What a treat from the combined forces of the Nottingham Festival Chorus and Concert Orchestra on Saturday evening. The sound was thrilling and as rich and varied as the programme itself, with works by Parry, Finzi, Tippett, Delius, Gjeilo and Vaughan Williams. Conductors, Angela Kay and Rachel Parkes were delighted by the performance. Congratulations to all those involved!


A message from MfE Director – Donna Fox

We are pleased to announce that Arts Council England is supporting Music for Everyone’s 40th Anniversary season this year. The theme is “Celebration”.

With a focus on inclusion, we will be celebrating the achievements of female leadership in Classical Music, such as our Founder Angela Kay MBE, female composers, conductors and musicians. We will be holding a special gala weekend on 1st July (youth) and 2nd July (adults) so watch this space for more details about how to get involved. We hope to engage new participants as we broaden and diversify our offer to include a new Open Voices session in Mansfield, as well as weekly Steel Pan and World Drumming ensembles. Let’s celebrate!!!
Watch this space for further details!

Places are now available on our next Vocals weekend in April. There will be rounds, part-songs, percussion and dancing, as well as popular songs from Encanto, Aladdin, Matilda and Trolls World Tour! If you know any youngsters who love singing please pass on the details.

A random one this week! We have been contacted by one of our members who sent us a picture of a lace bobbin with an inscription ‘Blow the Dust’ etched into it. This got us thinking about the importance of lacemaking locally as our office is on the edge of the Lace Market, once the heart of the worlds lace industry.

Did you know that lace makers used songs to help them with their work? These were known as Lacemaking Tells.

The Lacemaking Tells are unaccompanied counting songs and rhymes sung/chanted by young lacemakers, particularly used in the lace schools, when they are first being taught to make lace.

These songs tended to be made up of fragments of ballads, nursery rhymes and sometimes even hymns, and re-hashed and appropriated to serve the lacemaking process. The rhythm of the songs helped them to build up speed when making lace and also helped them to stay awake during the night shifts!

Here’s a track from folk singer and viola player Jackie Oates and Jon Spiers called Needle Pin, Needle Pin based on these lacemaking tells:  https://youtu.be/rWCWld_XjFA

Do we have any lacemakers out there? We would love to know if you still sing whilst you work!

  • We still have places available on the next Bandwise and Stringwise courses at the end of February – open to all young musicians! Click the course name to find out more details and sign up!

Have a great week!

Your friends at MfE.



www.music-for-everyone.org | 0115 9589312

10 Goose Gate | Hockley | NG1 1FF

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#MfEMondays are Music for Everyone’s weekly emails designed to keep you up to date with MfE events & to circulate interesting finds, special features, and musical musings for your Mondays! We are aiming to send out something new each week.

Our Jubilee Celebration course (Saturday 25th) and concert (Sunday 26th) is coming up in just under a couple of weeks’ time. If you haven’t yet signed up, we’d love you to come and sing in the Nottingham Festival Chorus, rehearsing on the Saturday, or to support the Sunday afternoon Jubilee Celebration Concert at Nottingham’s Albert Hall. The sparkling programme will include great pieces from coronations and glittering state occasions, including Parry’s I Was Glad, Handel’s Coronation Anthem ‘The King Shall Rejoice’ and Walton’s Crown Imperial.


*Special Jubilee Deals*


Do you know anyone who has NEVER sung with us before, who would enjoy singing the great music in our Jubilee programme? Please tell them about our SPECIAL DISCOUNTED ENROLMENTS FOR NEWCOMERS: They are invited to Come and Sing for £15, all music included. Link to book online: https://www.music-for-everyone.org/event/nfc-summer-workshop/


GROUP DISCOUNT OFFER – 6 tickets for the price of 5! This discount is applied automatically when ordering online.

In addition, to encourage as many FIRST-TIME people as possible into our audience we are offering:

  • HALF PRICE tickets in all areas of the hall for NEW concert-goers. Invite someone along to the concert who has never experienced the variety and quality of an MfE Festival Chorus performance before!

To get as many of our EXISTING loyal supporters along to enjoy the concert as we can, we are offering the usual performers’ discount (can be included with the group discount):

  • if you are a PERFORMER, ordering tickets for friends/family who have been with us before, get 10% off the cost, just use the code provided in your music pack to take advantage of this offer.

Full details can be found here: Jubilee Celebration Concert (music-for-everyone.org)


Well done to all the instrumentalists who had a fantastic day of music-making at our Blow the Dust off your Instrument event on Saturday with music from Elgar to Burt Bacharach!


Next Sunday 19th June the MfE Swing Band and Flute Choir will be performing at the Willoughby-on-the-Wolds Open Garden event. If you want to come along and support please see their website for further details: Open Gardens 2022: Sunday 19th June | Willoughby on the Wolds

Many studies have concluded that classical music is great for boosting concentration and firing up your brain cells. Now that the exam season is well underway (and probably over in many cases!) here are a few suggestions of music to listen to that will help you to focus, relax or study:

Bach opens your mind! Go for something like the Goldberg Variations to maximise your brain’s ability to take everything in. Bach’s intricate patterns and gradually unfolding textures are the perfect soundtrack to a little brain expansion. https://youtu.be/tCKQQxxUWBs

Although “the Mozart effect” is debatable, there is no denying that his music can be the perfect accompaniment to focus the mind: Mozart – Violin Sonata K 301  https://youtu.be/x7xPIyePmNk or the Piano Concerto in A major K488 https://youtu.be/DXeBFhqViYg

Or maybe you prefer something to help you relax and take more info in? Try Debussy’s Clair de Lune https://youtu.be/fZrm9h3JRGs or Chopin’s Nocturne No. 2 in E flat Major https://youtu.be/9E6b3swbnWg

Let us know how you get on!

  • Members of the Nottingham Youth Band had an exciting trip to the Concert Hall last Friday to watch the incredible saxophonist Jess Gillam performing with the Hallé orchestra. The programme included Bernstein’s electrifying Symphonic Dances from West Side Story…. Have you heard about Bradley Cooper starring as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro being released in 2023?  Here’s a first look at what’s in store:  https://www.classicfm.com/composers/bernstein-l/maestro-first-look-bradley-cooper-netflix/

Have a good week!

Your friends at MfE.



www.music-for-everyone.org | 0115 9589312

10 Goose Gate | Hockley | NG1 1FF

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#MfEMondays are Music for Everyone’s weekly emails designed to keep you up to date with MfE events & to circulate interesting finds, special features, and motivational moments for your Mondays! We are aiming to send out something new each week.

Nottingham Chamber Singers, St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall NG15 7AS

Concert Programme to include:
Rutter Requiem
Brahms Gesänge op. 17. For female voices
Schumann Six Songs for male chorus op. 33


Full £10, Concession £9, Child/Student £5

Online ticket booking is now closed. Tickets will be available to purchase on the door on Saturday 5th March, doors open from 7pm.

Available online via the Book Tickets button below or from the MfE Box Office on 0115 9589312.
In person (in advance) – Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm: 10 Goose Gate, Hockley, Nottingham NG1 1FF. We accept payment by cash, cheque or card.


Spring is finally in the air!! After all the storms and wild weather of February, it finally feels like the warmer weather, longer days and spring flowers are on their way. This week many of us may well be flipping pancakes in a frenzy before choosing to be somewhat more virtuous for Lent. One thing we’re certainly not giving up at MfE is putting on fabulous concerts for your entertainment and delight, and this coming weekend is no exception…

On Saturday 5th March, the Nottingham Chamber Singers (formerly EOES) will be performing a programme of music to soothe your senses, with a springtime theme of reflection, remembrance and renewal. The choir will be joined by an eclectic mix of instrumentalists for their performance of the Rutter Requiem, Brahms Four songs for upper voices, Schumann’s Six songs for lower voices, and local composer Guy Turner’s Songs and legends of Robin Hood. We will also feature two contemporary settings of music set to the texts of Lord Byron, who incidentally is buried in the graveyard of the parish church of Hucknall where the concert is taking place. It promises to be a romantic feast for the senses, we hope you can join us… book your tickets now! 7.30pm concert at St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall.

Book tickets online (also available on the door but we do recommend booking in advance!): https://www.music-for-everyone.org/ncs-concert-booking-page/

Happy Pancake Day for tomorrow! How do you like yours? Plain, sweet or savoury?

Here are some musical pancake inspirations if you’re feeling up to a challenge…

  • In New Orleans and other parts of the world people will be celebrating Mardi-Gras with Carnival on 1st March, so maybe put this wonderful toe-tapping tune on and have a dance around your kitchen whilst you’re flipping your pancakes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na5sXo0Oqhw

Have a good week!

Your friends at MfE.



www.music-for-everyone.org | 0115 9589312

10 Goose Gate | Hockley | NG1 1FF

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

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*Support us with easyfundraiser*

#MfEMondays are Music for Everyone’s weekly emails designed to keep you up to date with MfE events & to circulate interesting finds, special features, and motivational moments for your Mondays! We are aiming to send out something new each week.

There was a buzz in the air all day in anticipation of the evening’s performance. Morning and afternoon, instrumental and choral pieces were given a final polish in both the individual and combined groups.

The lunchtime recital was a real treat, given by professional guitarists Saki Kato and Hugh Milington – the Miyabi Duo. Their performance of music spanning several centuries revealed the variety of styles and sounds possible from the guitar, including the use of both body and strings as percussive elements. Like other performers at previous Summer Schools, Hugh had participated in MfE activities as a youngster, though not as a player but a singer!

As you can imagine, arranging a hall to accomodate 150+ performers in wind band, string orchestra, full orchestra and choir formation, with three conducting points, four conductors, two pianos, an organ, two sets of timpani, lots of percussion and a table for tuned wine glasses, while still leaving space for a solist and audience of family and friends, takes some time and is no mean feat, but we did it.

Getting ready for the final rehearsal.

The performance of music reflecting this year’s theme of ‘Voyages of Discovery’ – both in space (Now you understand this blog post’s title!) and at sea – was well received. Everyone sang and played with great enthusism. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished in three days of intensive rehearsal with great tutors and conductors. Of course there were a few wrong notes, but there was always the right spirit in the music and the opportunity to perform, which is what Music for Everyone is all about.

The String Orchestra enjoyed a rare opportunity for an amateur group – playing a concerto with a professional soloist. Conductor Abi Smith and leader Isobel Bounford ensured a wonderful balance between orchestra and soloist, Hugh Millington, leading to a beautiful performance of Vivaldi’s Guitar Concerto.

The concert ended with a mighty fine I vow to thee my country by all performers and audience – this was within the full orchestra’s rendition of Holst’s Jupiter, which included particularly splendid horn playing.

At every great event, much goes on behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly and each participant has a great experience. MfE office staff Amy and Kirstie packed away the urns after the final break having made and served several thousand cups of coffee and tea. (Not forgetting putting out hundreds of biscuits that always disappeared within a few minutes.) They then turned their hands to playing percussion in the evening concert, alongside ‘Events’ Anne tootling her flute and Executive Director Robin compering the evening. And somehow, inbetween and after all that, they collected, set up and served the farewell buffet, then cleared EVERYTHING away until the High School was as though we had never been there.

Huge thanks go to them all, and to conductors Hilary Campbell, Gill Henshaw, Angela Kay and Abi Smith, recitalists and workshop leaders, Richard Cox – THE most amazing accompanist, Nottingham High School for being such fab hosts, and to every participant. We hope you had a great time.

Hilary encouraged the choir to ‘be more Hollywood, less British’, so it seems fitting to say ‘It’s a wrap’ for Summer School 2019! We’ll be back next year with Summer School 2020.

There will be a wonderful concert in Beeston Parish Church tomorrow, Saturday 16 January, 7.30pm. Four Music for Everyone groups join together to perform a programme of classical music spanning more than 300 years. The most recent composition, Flame, by Ben Parry, was written in 2012 and inspired by the concept of the Olympic torch. Tickets will be available on the door. Come by tram, bus or car, but arrive early for the best seats as the New Year concert is popular. Participating are Nottingham Youth Voices, the East Midland Youth String Orchestra, East of England Singers and the New Classical Players. Composers include Handel, Mozart, Brahms, Bizet, Pergolesi, Holst and Parry. Hope to see you there.



not the turkey, but brown envelopes!



The staff in the office are stuffing them (as they call this process) with everything we singers will need for the Nottingham Festival Chorus (NFC) Missa Solemnis course at the end of January, 2016.

Beethoven’s work is one of the most astonishing and demanding choral pieces. What better way can there be to pass the long, dark, winter evenings than to learn the music? Not for NFC, weekly rehearsals. No. We practise alone initially, with the help of a CD and rehearsal tracks, or perhaps with a group of friends, and all in anticipation of the course and giving a fine concert on the 6th of February

Attending the sectional rehearsal helps with the learning process. For tenors and basses, that’s Thursday 7th Jan, and for sopranos and altos, Friday 8th Jan, both 7.30pm at Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus.  The course itself, at Bluecoat Academy, Aspley Lane, will focus on the tricky bits (there are quite a few of them) and polishing each movement to performance standard.

The Missa ISMNM201895444_2Solemnis is rarely performed due to its challenges. Come and be part of a fantastic opportunity and (what we are sure will be) an amazing concert. Invite your choral friends who live elsewhere, sing in other choirs etc to join you in enrolling for the course and concert.

If this particular course sounds a little advanced, worry not. Music for Everyone offers exciting music-making opportunities for all abilities of singers (and instrumentalists), so there’s plenty for everyone – four Daytime Voices choirs, the Workers Choir, the musicals and summer NFC courses, Summer School, choral workshops, etc, etc, etc.

Coming soon from the Artistic Director: Angela Kay’s Guide to Stuffing a Turkey. Oh, that was meant to read: Angela Kay’s Guide to Singing the Missa Solemnis.

cropped-logo_darkblue_green-copy.jpgHaving founded the Nottingham Choral Trust (now Music for Everyone) in 1983, Angela decided that a permanent chamber choir might add to the confidence of the Nottingham Festival Chorus and enable even more challenging works to be sung. In 1985 she formed an auditioned group, the East of England Singers (EOES), originally intended to perform for part of each season with the East of England Orchestra (now Sinfonia Viva) – hence the name.

2015 EOES

Some of the current choir have been members ever since, and in June 2015 the choir celebrated its thirtieth birthday with a reunion choir performance of Bach’s magnificent Mass in B minor. Members often say that EOES is the friendliest choir they have ever sung with. We work hard not just at our singing but also for Music for Everyone, with most of us contributing something to other groups, both adult and youth: Tea makers, cake bakers, shop runners, Bookwise helpers, blog writers, programme note writers, tour organisers, membership secretaries, accounts, NFC accompanist, Daytime Voices and Vocals! conductors, accompanists and helpers, recorder players, organist, violinist, harpsichordist, staging, lighting, sound, photography etc. You name it, we do it!

Our next concert is very soon. Saturday 17 October, 7.30pm, St John’s Church, Mansfield Rd, Carrington, Nottingham. The programme, spanning almost three centuries, comprises sacred and secular works that vary in mood from sombre to joyful, and in sound from gentle and melodious to rhythmic and dramatic. There will be trumpets and drums, other brass and wind instruments and, of course, the choir. We would be delighted to see you there and for you to enjoy music by Purcell, Stravinsky, Mozart and Bruckner.

Click here to see the programme and for tickets.

More about EOES and joining the choir.





The Summer School short concerts by visiting musicians, and the masterclasses each of them P1110261gave, were a different experience for those of us who sing or play regularly with Music for Everyone. They enabled us not only to hear wonderful performances but to then learn how to improve our own technique and performance.

Carris, a mezzo-soprano, read history at Cambridge while also singing as a choral scholar with the excellent Trinity College choir. Afterwards she studied singing and performance at the Royal Academy. She performed Robert Schumann’s song-cycle Frauenliebe und Leben for us with great expression and to the delight of the audience. Timothy Uglow accompanied her with great sensitivity. Such a beautiful performance that emphasised again points made by many of the tutors – the importance of posture, facial expression and engaging the audience.

Four singers (apologies if I missed anyone, I slipped out to the strings for a time), bravely sang their solo pieces to the whole choir. Carris helped each of them points of difficulty in the music or their vocal technique, be that breath control, enunciation or performing rather than singing the notes. The difference Carris’s suggestions made could be heard as the delegates sang again some or all of their pieces. Inspirational, and a big bravo to them all!

Joan, Jeanne (whose hand Carris is holding to swing at the breathing points!), Catherine and Paul.



Three masterclass opportunities are included in the Summer School. A masterclass is where an individual receives tuition while others watch, listen and learn. Sarah Watts offered a masterclass for wind and brass players.

P1110221Before the masterclass, Sarah gave a concert of contemporary music for the clarinet, including a piece for bass clarinet. Her enthusiasm for performance drew us, the audience, into sounds and styles that were new to many of us. She played with vibrancy, delicacy, force, percussively, with the use of harmonics (sounding two notes at once) and always with great musicality.

Sarah’s second piece was Pierre Boulez’ Domaines pour Clarinet. It requires 7 music stands. On one is the anchoring music, and on the other six sections of the piece that shift yet relate. The music of these stands, placed around the performance space, are to be played from left to right or in another direction. The musician chooses the order in which to visit each stand, revisiting each a second time to play the score in the other direction before returning to the ‘facing the audience stand’ for the close of the piece.  I imagine no two performances of the piece can ever be the same, a true collaboration between the composer, musician and audience, who travel the path of composer and musician both with eyes and ears. Goodness, that was hard to describe! I can assure you it sounds extraordinary and amazing. Google it if you would like to know more.

Yesterday, in Back to Basics, we talked about time and key signatures, bar lines etc. Boulez has ‘liberated’ the piece from these. Here’s a picture of Sarah’s score. NB – this is what a pencil is for! P1110224

When I dropped in on the masterclass, Sarah was offering advice about genres of music suited to a particular stage of learning, and the use of the breath.

Here with Sarah are clarinetists Jennifer and Angela, and trumpeter Richard:

To find out more about Sarah, visit her website.

Did I say this would be a blog sandwich? Make that a triple decker. Owen Cox and the string masterclass will follow after coffee.